Microsoft Application Center 2000 Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft Corp. today announced the release to manufacturing of its long-awaited Application Center 2000, a suite of tools designed for the management of clusters of Web and application servers.

A member of the .NET enterprise server family, Application Center is comprised of tools that enable management, monitoring and load balancing of Web applications, and easier deployment of applications over clusters of servers.

“We’re focused on scaling mid-tier Web and application servers,” says Bob Pulliam, technical product manager for Application Center 2000. “The traditional way to do this is to have one server, but there were two problems with that - the hardware is too expensive and there is one single point of failure.”

With more and more companies opting for the clustering approach to ensure availability, Application Center takes software scaling and makes it manageable.

To make managing a cluster as easy as managing a single server, Application Center combines a variety of features. One of Application Center’s main features is simplifying application management, a feature that allows a company to make changes across a cluster of servers, instead of having to make changes individually to each server in the cluster. As companies grow, Application Center automates the process of expanding application clusters, enabling them to increase capacity.

Another feature is the ability to monitor the cluster as a single, aggregated source, instead of as a series of servers. “If a server is low in memory, you can take it out of load balancing, repair it, and then put it back to service,” says Pulliam. “The server proactively fixes itself based on what best practices you’ve used. Before, this was a manual process, but with Application Center it is not.”

Members of the Application Center 2000 program are already seeing this offering pay dividends, says Pulliam. “One of the true benefits it brings is that businesses can grow but they can keep their IT staffs relatively the same, which is a huge benefit to the bottom line,” he says, alluding to the benefits of managing application clusters as one, instead of individually.

While there are solutions on the market for load balancing, Web monitoring, and application management, Pulliam says Application Center 2000 is unique because it provides a combination of features in one package. “There are a lot of niche solutions out there, but no one has a complete unified package for bringing all of these features together like we do,” he says.

Application Center 2000 is slated to become generally available in March. – Jim Martin

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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